The call to ordained ministry is a call perceived by both the
individual and the Church. To assist an individual in
determining whether or not a perceived call is valid, the Church
and the individual embark on a discernment journey together.
The end result of this journey may be either an affirmation of the
call to ordained ministry or to the continuation of the call to lay
ministry. Helping an individual recognize and embrace a
genuine lay ministry, originating from baptismal vows, is of equal
or greater importance than guiding a person to ordination.
Journey of Discernment
seeks to assist priests, and individuals contemplating ordination,
in the discernment journey by outlining the steps in the
discernment process in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. The
first steps in this process are: 1) Dialogue with a Parish Priest
for six months to one year, 2) Attend a Ministry Exploration
Weekend and 3) Schedule a meeting with the Bishop and your
Sponsoring Priest. At the end of these steps, if the
individual, the Sponsoring Priest and the Bishop truly discern a
call to ordained ministry, the journey continues in conversation
with the Commission on Ministry (COM). We suggest you read
"Leaders for the Church" (Appendix A).
Journey of Discernment is
an invitation to enter into the process of reflection, discernment
and formation. It assumes that all who read it will do so
with eyes focused on the page, but hearts and ears focused on
hearing the distinct call of God. The process assumes that
your priest, your Bishop, and The Commission on Ministry, open to
the Holy Spirit's guidance, will journey with you and support this
holy task of listening and discerning.
The key word in describing this program is formation. It is more
than an accumulation or completion of study. The program exists to
form the ministry of those who are called to this Order, and to
nurture them as they seek not only education but understanding of
what it is to be a Deacon.